Edge of the Prairiethe sand prairies and savannas of the Chicago region

    Amelanchier sp.

In sandy or boggy woodlands which have not been subject to a recent fire serviceberries can grow. Flowering is a very brief period on the first warm and sunny days in late April; a protracted cold and rainy period at that time of year may result in little or no flowering. Individuals growing on banks and edges will often bloom more profusely. The individual pictured is probably A. arborea or the closely related A. canadensis.

Amelanchier in bloom

Serviceberries can grow in very dry sandy woods; however, these locations would have been subject to fire in pre-European contact times, excluding this fire intolerant species. It is probable that it grew primarily in places too wet to burn.

closeup of Amelanchier flower

The other common name for this plant is 'juneberry', which refers to the edible red berry-like fruit that appears in June. The fruit is generally bland and seedy, and rarely eaten by humans.

Amelanchiers make a nice ornamental shrum for sandy areas. The flowers are fragile and delicate lasting only a few days in mid to late April; they wonderful in a Japanese garden. They will grow well at the base of an oak tree, and has attractive serpentine gray bark in winter, and because they rarely exceed 30' to 40' feet in height, they can be fit into an area where a large tree would not. Planning for a dark background (such as a pine or spruce) and a sunny exposure will help make their fleeting springtime display a Haiku moment.


Amelanchier arborea on the fire effects information service, U.S. govt. You'll want to study this if you plan to burn an oak woodland with a significant population of Amelanchier.

Amelanchier arborea on hort.net.

Cultivation notes on gardenbed.com.



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